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5 Surprising Features of Electronic Cash Registers

Surprising Features of Electronic Cash Registers

We have all seen Electronic Cash Registers (ECR) used at convenience stores, roadside farmer’s markets, and pop-up events. We never give them a second thought since most still use tech that came out in the ‘70s and ‘80s. While these simplistic, unassuming cash registers might not have all the bells and whistles of a cloud-based POS system, some of these electronic cash register features might surprise you. They can even rival cloud-based POS systems in some regards.

Selling Age Restricted Items

When it comes to selling age-restricted items like beer and cigarettes, POS systems can ensure they are not sold to minors. They can easily hold up the sale by reminding the cashier to scan the customer’s ID and enforcing that their date of birth is entered into the POS system. Electronic cash registers can do the same thing; they can require a date of birth to be entered on every age-restricted item. They can even tell the difference between the minimum age of 18 for tobacco and a minimum age of 21 for alcohol, all in the same ECR.

Tracking Employee Time Clock

Surprising Features of Electronic Cash Registers

We all know that modern cloud-based POS systems can keep track of the employee’s time clock, set schedules, and deliver detailed payroll reports. But just because you have an ECR doesn’t mean you have to find another way to keep track of your employees’ time. Most ECRs have built-in time clocks and can provide simple payroll reports. They can also prevent an employee from ringing up a customer’s transaction until they are clocked in. No separate time clock is needed.


As most small business owners will agree, you can never have too many reports. POS systems will have every type of report you can think of, and they can go all the way back to the very beginning. While ECRs may not have that extensive reporting, they do have a genius way to allow a business owner to see the reports they need and want to see. Electronic cash registers have Z and Y reports; both types of reports can start and end whenever the business owner wants, making them very customizable. Most ECRs will have two sets of Z and Y reports, with some having as many as five sets. The difference is that an X report will allow you to view and print a report without resetting it, while a Z report will reset to zero when you view and print it.

For example, one set of Z and Y reports can be generated daily while the other can be generated weekly or monthly. Business owners can do whatever they want to do with the Z and Y reports since an ECR is not connected to the internet, so it does not automatically get the date and time. This provides a lot of flexibility when it comes to getting the reports you want.

Handling Dual Currencies

Depending on the location of your business in relation to international borders, having a POS system that can handle dual currencies and make the conversion between them could be a must for day-to-day business. Since this feature is only needed in select geographical regions, most cloud-based POS systems do not have this feature. However, almost all ERCs have had this feature for years. This is just another of the many electronic cash register benefits. During a sale, ERC can make the conversion between a “home currency” and up to four different “foreign currencies,” allowing the business owner to keep track of all the different currencies coming into their business.

“Mix and Match” Features

A good business owner knows that an effective discount will bring in customers and drive sales. Any cloud-based POS system will have a number of different ways to structure any kind of discount imaginable. While ECRs might not be that robust, they do offer a fair amount of flexibility when it comes to handling discounts. Electronic cash registers have a “Mix and Match” discount feature that can allow a business owner to group their items and offer a dollar or percentage off when any of these items are purchased together. These Mix and Match groups have no limit, both in the number of groups and how many items can be in each group. So, this Mix and Match feature can be used for a number of commonly used discounts.

That unassuming cash register can do more than you think. While it might not be able to do everything a cloud-based POS system can do, it can do a couple of things POS systems can’t. Depending on your budget and what you need to run your business, an ERC can offer the best value for your dollar. Going with an ERC and not paying for a plethora of unneeded and unused features in a cloud-based POS system could be the smart economic choice for your business.